Thursday, May 24, 2012

"[I]n 2004, I termed the proposed relocation 'an aesthetic crime,' because I couldn't imagine that the integrity of the collection ... would survive."

"But it does, magnificently."

Peter Schjeldahl, once a fierce critic of the Barnes move, visits the new museum, and is blown away.  "Better visibility is the chief, and almost the only, alteration to the strange and wonderful arrangements of works ... left by Barnes."

He joins the critical consensus.  As Lee Rosenbaum notes, the general reaction has been "manic acclamation."  Of course there are the fundamentalists, the "inflexible diehards, incapable of transcending stubborn prejudices," who say "nearly everything is wrong," that the new museum is "a worst-case example of philistinism" (not just an example of philistinism but the worst-case example).

But here's the thing.  You don't have to like the new building.  Everyone's entitled to their opinion.  But Peter Schjeldahl is not a philistine.  Roberta Smith is not a philistine.  Paul Goldberger is not a philistine.  They're just not.  So you can continue your tantrum over the move.  Or you can open yourself up to the "rapture" Schjeldahl describes.